Proposal (528) to South American Classification Committee


Merge Simoxenops into Syndactyla


Effect on SACC: Simoxenops ucayalae and Simoxenops striatus would become Syndactyla ucayalae and Syndactyla striatus.


Background and new information:

A recent phylogenetic analysis (Derryberry et al. 2011, Evolution) of the Furnariidae with nearly complete species-level taxon sampling found that the two species of Simoxenops were nested as closely related sister taxa within the Syndactyla clade. Within the Syndactyla clade, Simoxenops was sister to a clade that included all other Syndactyla except S. rufosuperciliata and S. dimidiatum, which formed a basally branching clade.


Personally I hate to see Simoxenops go, but none of the alternate treatments I can envision would maintain these two taxa in their own genus. In addition, the overall depth of this Syndactyla clade is consistent with other genus-level taxa in the Furnariidae.

These results are based on multiple vouchered individuals sequenced per species.


Relevant clade from figure in Derryberry et al. (2011):



Literature Cited:

DERRYBERRY, E., S. CLARAMUNT, G. DERRYBERRY, R. T. CHESSER, J. CRACRAFT, A. ALEIXO, J. PÉREZ-ÉMAN, J. V. REMSEN, JR., & R. T. BRUMFIELD.  2011.  Lineage diversification and morphological evolution in a large-scale continental radiation: the Neotropical ovenbirds and woodcreepers (Aves: Furnariidae).  Evolution 65: 29732986.


Robb Brumfield, June 2012



Comments from Stiles: “YES, as the Derryberry et al. phylogeny clearly indicates that these generic changes are necessary.”


Comments from Pacheco: “YES.  The transfer is well justified by the results in the recent phylogenetic analysis.”


Comments from Robbins: “YES.  The genetic data corroborate what Kevin Zimmer and I suggested (2005, Bull. Brit. Orn. Club), i.e., that Simoxenops be subsumed into Syndactyla based on plumage, structure, and vocalizations.”


Comments from Zimmer:  “YES.  The genetic data (Derryberry et al. 2011) corroborate what Mark Robbins and I had earlier recommended (2005, Bull. Brit. Orn. Club):  that Simoxenops be subsumed into Syndactyla based on vocal, plumage, and morphometric characters.  I might also add that these same genetic data further corroborate the earlier SACC votes in Proposal #198 and Proposal #375 to transfer Philydor dimidiatum and Automolus roraimae respectively to the genus Syndactyla, based upon vocal, morphological, ecological and syringeal data presented in Robbins & Zimmer (2005) and in Zimmer, Robbins & Kopuchian (2007).”


Comments from Nores: “YES. The genetic data (Derryberry et al. 2011) and vocal, plumage, and morphometric characters (Robbins and Zimmer 2005), indicate that this change is justified.